PortableApps Saves My Bacon

I have been a fan of PortableApps for a couple of years. It's a really neat concept - package useful applictions in a small, self-contained format so that they can easily be run from a USB stick or drive. This way, you can take your apps with you as you move from computer to computer. Over the last week however, I've been using PortableApps in a different manner.

Lately I've been having numerous computer problems. I've been resisting reloading the operating system because I just did that a month ago. But the operating system didn't care - it just continued to degrade. First it was its distaste for USB hard drives, then came my mouse, finally (its pièce de résistance) it would just stop responding soon after I logged in. This rendered me completely unproductive at the client site.

Fortunately I was able to boot to Windows PE (pre-installation environment with very little features and services - like safe mode only safer and more padded - like an asylum). I jammed my PortableApps USB stick in a USB slot. The menu did not work, however you can navigate to the exe's in a command line and launch them. This allowed me to use Firefox, 7-Zip, and OpenOffice to maintain some productivity while I worked to fix my system. Brilliant!

In short, as part of your personal disaster recovery strategy I recommend that you create a PortableApps device. It can help you keep working on some level until you can get your system restored to working order.

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